Training and Confrontations


Story Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities grow, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, R/T, and a paternal Ron.

Chapter 33

Chapter Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities growing, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, Remus/T, and a paternal Ron. Part III (the autumnal term until New Year's Day) continues through Chapter 35.
Author's Note:
Harry slowly recovers from the knife attack, and visits Ottery St. Catchpole for a short time.

Chapter XXXIII

Overnight, Harry was still awakened every ninety minutes to take his potion. Since he fell back asleep nearly instantly almost every time, Harry did not feel up to complaining.

Once, however, he woke up to someone stroking his hair. Harry knew the touch instantly. "I love you, 'Mione," he mumbled.

"That's good," she answered, ignoring his use of a disliked nickname. "I love you, too."

"How's Luna?"

"She's sleeping normally," Hermione answered, the relief evident in her voice. "She should wake up in the morning, without any real aftereffects."

Harry finally opened his eyes. "You look almost as bad as I feel," he said honestly.

Hermione's mouth quirked a little. She did indeed look exhausted, and had dark smudges under her eyes. "Thanks," she said.

"Sorry. Why are you here in the middle of the night? Up worrying?"

"No," Hermione answered. "I've been up working. This is a special potion. It starts to deteriorate four hours after it's made. At the same time, this is a witch's brew."

Harry managed to look impressed. Witch's brews were high N.E.W.T. level potions that only witches could make, and even then usually only under special conditions. "And you're making it?"

"I have been," Hermione acknowledged. "Only witches who are in a loving relationship with the afflicted person, or witches who are virgins not experiencing their period can make this one." Her smiled widened. "Lust and crushes don't count. People are speculating which condition applies to me."

"You need some rest," Harry said as Hermione helped him sit up.

"I'm going to bed after you take this, my love," Hermione told him. "Susan and Katie are working on the next batch."

"Darn, now my secret marriages will be out," Harry said after he drank the potion.

"I'll alert Skeeter," Hermione said gravely. She kissed Harry gently.

"Stay with me," Harry murmured.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Stay with me," Harry repeated softly. "Your touch makes me feel stronger, not to mention it makes me feel a lot better."

Hermione settled Harry back into the bed, although off to the side. She slipped off her shoes and then slipped under the covers. "I love you, Harry, but this will cause talk."

"As long as you don't snog Luna in public, everyone will think we're all just dating as friends," Harry said. He sighed. "I actually do feel better every time you touch me."

"Then neither of us will care about our reputations," Hermione said. "Good night, my love." She snuggled into Harry's arms.

"Good night, beloved," Harry muttered, and he went back to sleep until it was time to wake him up yet again.

Tuesday, December 10, 1996

When Harry awoke to daylight (having taken the potion once before), he was glad to see Hermione was still cuddled with him. Professor Dumbledore was again sitting in the chair.

"Good morning, Harry."

"Good morning, Professor," Harry said softly but cheerfully.

"You're remarkably better this morning." Harry smiled and nodded towards Hermione. "I see," the Headmaster said. "Your connections to Miss Granger and Miss Lovegood are remarkably powerful."

"I believe they are," Harry agreed.

Hermione stretched and opened her eyes. Seeing the Headmaster, she blushed.

"No need to be embarrassed," Dumbledore said. "I think you shall have to explain the potion to Harry, and then go back to Gryffindor or your study to sleep some more. Miss Lovegood will have to contribute to the potion. I believe it is your contributions to the potion which have brought Harry along so fast as it is."

Dumbledore turned to Harry. "Normally, you should still be barely coherent." Dumbledore stood. "Miss Lovegood will be along early this afternoon." He nodded and left.

"What was he talking about?" Harry asked.

Hermione turned around and hugged him. "The major ingredient to the potion could be seen as somewhat . . . unusual."

"And what's that?"

"Well, it's breast milk," Hermione said.


Hermione flashed her left breast at Harry. "Breast milk. It needs to come from twelve women. One of them must have been a lactating mother of some standing, and at least six must be virgins."

Harry looked puzzled. "How. . . ?"

"Oh, there are various magical and Muggle ways to get a woman to lactate, Harry. While a number of girls and all the HPSN, other than Luna, who was out of it, and of course Bonnie, who's too young, wanted to contribute, some were worried that lactating would cause a little premature sagging in our boobs if they did it for the whole month. They all decided not to contribute more than a week at a time. I'll just keep doing it, and Luna will take over when one of the other girls stops. It's obviously helping more than anticipated"

"You're. . . ."

"Harry, I'd give you my life's blood. What's giving you some milk? It's a little inconvenient, but it's not a big deal."

"Who else? Or shouldn't I know?"

"Believe it or not, the main reason we can give you so much is Millicent."


Hermione nodded. "She's huge, and even though quantity of milk doesn't always match the size of the breasts, it does in her case. She gives as much as any four other girls."


Hermione nodded her agreement. "She, Susan, Padma, Katie, Su Li, and believe it or not, Marietta, are the current virgins."

"Su Li and Marietta? I am surprised," Harry agreed. "And the others?"

"Myself, Ginny, Parvati, Lavender, and Cho," Hermione said.

"Cho, too? Why?"

"They were very apologetic, as were Corner and Cornfoot. I think Smith was partially behind their attitudes. Those three were friends long before Hogwarts. This is Cho's way of apologizing."

"Wow." Harry suddenly shook his head violently.

"What's wrong?"

"Sorry," Harry said, embarrassed.

"Ah," Hermione said with a leer, "thinking of us donating, huh?"

Harry nodded. Hermione moved her hand slightly under the blanket and smiled. "Well, it's good to know everything is in good working order. We'll have to put off testing for at least a week or so, though."

Harry blushed deeper and Hermione removed her hand from his penis.

Hermione rolled out of bed and kissed Harry's forehead. "I'll come see you tonight, and I'll let Luna know how you're doing. If you're good, I'll let you watch me donate."

Harry squirmed a little from embarrassment, but he smiled at the idea. Then he frowned. "You left one girl out," Harry said.

"I was wondering if you'd ask. You'll never guess who the nursing mother is."

"Then I won't try," Harry said.

"Rora," Hermione said simply. Seeing Harry's surprise, she went on, "The custom back on her world is to let children nurse as long as they want before totally weaning them, and most children usually stop between the ages of three and four. Little Sirius is about thirty-four months, and he came through with her. They're staying at the Burrow, and she sends the milk along a few times a day."

"Is she going to stay?" Harry asked.

"No," Hermione said. "One of the Dumbledore cousins is taking her as a concubine when she returns. She will keep her freedom, of course, and some of Sirius' money if Sirius stays here. They're talking about him staying, that is the Weasleys, Rora, Ron, and Professor Dumbledore."

"Is Ron disappointed that she won't be staying?"

"A little, but he really wasn't in love with her," Hermione pointed out.

Madam Pomfrey knocked on the door and came in with Harry's potion. "You need to drink this and go back to sleep," she ordered before turning on Hermione. "You had better get some additional sleep, too. You need to go back to classes starting tomorrow."

Harry woke up when he felt a pair of arms entwine around his neck. "Luna?"


Harry said nothing, and hugged her tightly.

"What's wrong, my love?" Luna asked.

"I've been inside that monster's head," Harry reminded her.

"It was . . . disgusting," Luna admitted. "Still, I had to free Colin, and I wanted to show him that there were more people to fear than just you and Professor Dumbledore."

"Is he?" Harry asked.

"You drove Riddle out of your head last June in large part because of the power of your feelings for Sirius Black, and in part because of your raw power. I don't have half as much pure power as you do, but as much as you loved Sirius, our love for each other and for Hermione burns far hotter." Luna's face took on the first truly nasty look Harry had ever seen on it. "I burnt the bastard. If it had been the three of us, we would have burned him to ashes."

"I hope he won't come after you," Harry said.

"He won't," Luna said, "although he may send his minions after any of us. I told him as he ran away that you would catch up to him sooner or later. When he threatened me, I laughed at him. 'Imagine,' I said, 'what your followers would say when they learn you had to run away from a fifteen-year-old girl'. He escaped at that point."

"You're as crazy as I am," Harry said, shaking his head.

"I know," Luna replied with a smile. "Now, Ron wanted to see you, but wasn't allowed."

"He wants to talk about Sirius, doesn't he?"

Luna nodded. "He's going to stay in our world. Mrs. Weasley will be raising him for the next few years."

"Rora doesn't mind? I mean, not only is he her son, but isn't he the key to her freedom?"

"Sirius was already spending most of every day with magical children," Luna pointed out to Harry. "Rora went from a general maid to working with magical children as a paid nurse maid once Sirius was a year old. A few of the magical families operate something similar to our pre-schools for magical children born from Muggles and Squibs, to get them used to magic. She'll go back to working with them, and trying to have more magical children with her new protector."

Harry winced. "I can imagine what Hermione thinks of that," he said.

"I'm sure you can. Rora doesn't have to, as Hermione already lectured her on other possibilities." Luna stopped for a moment, then went on, "It was actually quite reasonable. She coached it terms and tones which were not condescending. Still, they all entailed Rora's staying here."

"This would be a more alien world for her than hers was for us," Harry mused.

"Exactly. She would be more out of place in our magical world than any Squib could be, and in most ways she would be at least three or four hundred years behind Muggle technology. A toddler like Sirius can easily adapt, but Rora's twenty-two. She could do it, of course, if she really wanted to, but she doesn't."

"Because she doesn't love Ron."

"She doesn't," Luna agreed. "She loves Sirius, and believes he will have a better life here. I don't think she really thought about leaving him here until she met Mrs. Weasley."

Now Harry frowned. "I hope she didn't force Rora into giving Sirius up."

"I didn't pick any of that up when I talked with her. She's spending most of her time at the Burrow, and shipping her milk here, but both she and Mrs. Weasley were here this morning."

Harry nodded. He trusted Luna's empathic powers. He moved onto a different topic. "I'm surprised she agreed to come here for a year."

"A month . . . oh, you mean that there will be nearly a year passed in her world when she returns?"


"She owes a lot to the Dumbledores, and her future protector was going on a six month journey for advanced alchemy training."

"Ah, that makes sense. Could you ask Remus if there's anything I can do for her?"

"Why can't you ask him?" Luna asked.

"Because I'm going to fall back to sleep soon, and I might forget."

"Then of course I will. Oh, to get back on topic, Ron wondered if you would stand as Sirius' godfather, now that he's here."

"Of course," Harry said. "And his godmother?"

"Hermione and I are sharing the honor. We'll make a quick visit to the church at Ottery St. Catchpole over Christmas."

"Oh, I'm sure Professor Moody will like that!"

"He's been ranting since early this morning. I'm sure he's actually having a grand time already, planning all the security." At that point there was a sharp knock on the door, and Madam Pomfrey came in with Harry's potion.

After she left, Harry settled himself back into the pillow. "Are you donating?"

"Not yet," Luna admitted. "It's too bad that you're a leg man who is already dating two women."


"Because all the current donors, except Rora, Hermione, and Millicent, are rotating off this Saturday. Still, you can't eat anything for a few days after that. The suggested diet, once you can digest anything other than the potion, is breast milk for three days, and then other diary products for four days. You could get the milk direct."

Harry blushed, but said, "Somehow, I don't think that would have been allowed, no matter what."

"Perhaps not. Still, I shall make certain I begin lactating by Friday evening, even though I don't start donating to the potion pool until Saturday night. I shall make certain you get the second drink." She kissed Harry gently.

"Hermione has dibs?" Harry teased as he sank back to sleep.

"It seemed fair."

Harry did not return to classes the rest of December, although Hermione made certain he kept up with his readings and assignments. After the middle of his second week in the Infirmary room, Harry started to have visitors other than Dumbledore, Moody, and his seven companions in Ruchak. Harry made certain that he thanked each of the girls who had donated to his potion, or who was on the volunteer list for the rest the time the potion would be needed. He had also ordered charm bracelets for the donors who were not in the HPSN, and each donor would get a pair of pearls set as a charm.

All of the HPSN (other than young Bonnie) were on the donor list for at least a few days, and eighteen other girls and Tonks had volunteered as well. All the donor girls (other than Hermione and Luna) were to some greater or lesser degree embarrassed when they visited, as was Harry. Harry had been most embarrassed by Bonnie's lament that she had not been allowed to donate. He was glad he was able to make his peace with Cho, Marietta, and the rest of Cho's group, who were all donating for up to a week each. They had all apologized to Luna as well, although that was in part because of Luna's attack on Voldemort. (Luna's attack, breaking off the Imperius Charm on Colin, had been released to The Daily Prophet by Minister Fudge. It certainly created a fair amount of respect for the once-outcast Ravenclaw.)

Millicent Bulstrode had been the most embarrassed donor. While she, Draco, and Gregory Goyle were not fully abjuring their previous beliefs, all three had come out against the Dark Lord and his tactics. Millicent had confessed that she and 'Greg' were now a couple, and that Greg was most anxious for the need for Millicent's contribution to the potion to be ended, as that would mark the end of her virginity as well.

While Draco had not visited Harry, he had visited Dumbledore. Draco told the Headmaster everything he knew of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, including his own torture the previous August and Julian's attempt to contact him in November.

Rora had also visited, and seemed very pleased that Harry would become her son's godfather. Dumbledore had found a young witch who was planning on ending her nursing around Christmas, which would allow Rora to return to Ruchak more than a week early.

Colin had also been allowed to visit Harry. The teen had been even more embarrassed than any two of the donors combined.

Between Millicent's huge output, the emotional ties to Luna and Hermione (and the lesser ties to some of the other girls), and his own immense magical power, Harry was recovering more quickly than expected. However, he was forced to rest more than he wanted to. By December 21 (the first day of the winter break), Harry still was not allowed to use active magic, but had physically recovered for the most part except for having a very delicate digestion. He had been quite happy to get off of a pure dairy diet and onto other soft foods and then 'real' food. He had also been doing isometric exercises for a week. He had lost very little muscle mass, and was back on his way regaining his tone. He was glad to have the magical cane he had been given back in Ruchak, since he did tire more easily than he would admit to.

Monday, December 23, 1996

The baptism of Sirius Arthur Weasley was held in private that morning in the small Saxon church in Ottery St. Catchpole. The entire Weasley family was present. Even Percy was present, in part as a Ministry representative, since young Sirius was from another world and the Ministry had to provide altered birth records. He was also there because Penny had made her feelings very clear when her sister had told her the truth about Percy's disagreements with his family. Their marriage had nearly broken up, and it was under that threat that Percy had finally apologized to his family.

All the Weasleys were happy, other than Percy, who was both ashamed of his own conduct and more than a little censorious of Ron (Percy was so ashamed of his brother's behavior that he was making certain that the information did not leak to the press). Penny, on the other hand, provided an appropriate gift despite Percy's grumbling. Bill had brought Fleur, and they announced their wedding date for the next summer. George had brought Katie. Other than that, the non-Weasleys were Rora, Harry, Luna, Hermione, Tonks, Remus, Dumbledore, Mr. Lovegood, and Moody.

Rora watched the ceremony with a combination of anxiety and stoicism. Despite the presence of a dark wizard, she believed that this world would give her son more opportunities than her own. She loved her son, but was resolved to do what was best for her first born.

The christening party moved back to the Burrow after the baptism was over. Rora's eyes rarely left her son all morning. Young Sirius had clung to her skirts for the first four days they had been present. For the next week, he had found refuge there only when some new Weasley had shown up. She had expected Sirius to be holding on to her all day on this day.

Sirius had not, however. To the dismay of Mrs. Weasley, Ron, and Hermione, Sirius had not only stayed away from Rora, but them as well. Instead, Sirius had latched onto Harry's trousers at the church after the service. Harry had finally given up trying to move around, and he was not yet strong enough to carry Sirius around for long. Harry therefore spent the rest of the morning and lunch seated in Mr. Weasley's chair, with Sirius seated on his lap.

Rora smiled as she watched Harry and Sirius splitting a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a bowl of chicken broth. The whole group, except for Percy, smiled as Sirius solemnly offered Ron his crusts when Ron asked his mother if there was anything else to eat. Ron gravely took and ate the crusts, and gently kissed his son's red hair. At that point, even Percy gave in and smiled.

Rora was a bit startled when she realized that the Seer was standing beside her. "Please don't worry," Luna said. "We will give Sirius all the love and comforts he could need, without spoiling him."

"I know," Rora said. "It's still hard to leave him here, even if it's for the best."

Luna hugged the older woman, who said, "Harold will be a fine father for your children."

"He will be," Luna agreed.